LEGENDARY PINK DOTS – YOUR CHILDREN PLACATE YOU FROM PREMATURE GRAVES (CD by Roir)
LEGENDARY PINK DOTS – ALCHEMICAL PLAYSCHOOL (CD by Caciocavallo)
Two brand-new Dots CD releases in Vital this week. The first one, Your Children Placate You From Premature Graves, is the official new studio album. An almost traditional package of poppy songs, ballads and ambient pieces, it also marks the return of former Dots-guitarist Martijn de Kleer. At times the music steers close to Pink Floyd (for instance on ‘The Island Of Our Dreams’) and gets away with it. The plodding semi-krautrock of ‘No Matter What You Do’ however does not work. The album’s highlights are the beautifully restrained and sensitive pieces such as ‘Stigmata Part 4’, ‘Bad Hair’, ‘A Silver Thread and Your Time Is Up’. Is it on songs like these that the Dots show their true class. With sparse instrumentation, the music is able to breathe and develop leaving plenty of room for Edward’s word play and poems. Here the saxophones (if any) are non-obtrusive and constructive. More song-based than 2005’s Poppy Variations album, this album-with-the-weird-title will certainly please the vast ranks of Pink Dots fanatics.
Alchemical Playschool is an altogether different beast. It comes packed in a beautiful trident-carved soapstone box that weighs a ton. Here the Dots-core of Edward Kaspel and Phil Knight rework environmental sound-material recorded in India (by Charles Powne of Soleilmoon records, the original recordings are available on CD as Indian Soundscapes). In doing so the Dots create a beautiful dreamscape. The four long tracks (parts one to four) evoke scenes of the East with street sounds, crowd noises, voices and field recordings drifting in and out. At times the results are pastoral and on other occasions downright hectic – just as you’d imagine India to sound like. Part Four, with its beautiful voice sample and washes of sound, forms the highlight of this fascinating album. Alchemical Playschool is welcome proof that the Dots are still willing and able to create exiting experimental music. While Your Children Placate might be the easier album to digest, it is Alchemical Playschool that is the moral winner here. (FdW)
(The date of this review is unknown.)